Middle East

U.N. chief urges Syria to declare unilateral truce

France's President Francois Hollande (R) speaks with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a joint news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, October 9, 2012. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged the Syrian regime to declare an immediate truce to bring an end to the conflict that he said had left 20,000 dead over the last 19 months.

"It is unbearable for the (Syrian) people to continue like this. That is why I have conveyed to the Syrian government (a) strong message that they should immediately declare a unilateral ceasefire," he said.

He told a joint press conference in Paris with French President Francois Hollande that the reaction he had got from the Syrian government had been to ask what opposition forces would do if the regime called a truce.

"That is exactly what I have discussed and I am in the process of discussing with the member states of the (United Nations) Security Council and the countries in the region," he said.

Ban urged "the opposition forces to agree to this unilateral ceasefire when and if the Syrian government declares it" and he called on countries supplying arms to either side to stop in order to ease the suffering of the Syrian people.





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